Tag Archive: failure

The Importance of Innovation

April 27th, 2016

supply chainI was the Chair of the Manufacturers Council of the Inland Empire (MCIE)’s Innovation awards committee for this year’s Manufacturers’ Summit. It was inspiring to hear the stories of manufacturing innovation at today’s awards ceremony! These companies innovated in many different ways ranging from workforce development to marketing to resource efficiency, and each had tangible and significant results.

As I said when giving out the award, there is a significant difference between problem solving and innovation. Problem solving “gets you back to some sort of standard performance” — important yet extremely different from innovation. Innovation, on the other hand, raises the bar to an entirely new level of performance! As Angel Sanchez said from Phenix Technology (in the center below next to me), after being in business for 40 years, coming up with an innovation that more than doubled sales was a game changer!

mcie innovation awards

One tip to implement this week:

The key to innovation is to support experimentation. If you are a leader, give your people time this week to try new ideas. Encourage them to test new theories and try out new approaches. Make sure they know you will support them, no matter the results. Innovation requires experimentation and failure. Edison didn’t invent the light bulb on the first try. It took COUNTLESS tries!

If you are not in a leadership position, go to your leader and tell him/her about a new idea. Ask for the opportunity to test out a new process or new idea. If you can find a way to test it out within a reasonable set of guidelines so that the negative impact wouldn’t be too significant, it is likely you’ll be able to convince your manager to give it a try. Talk up the potential benefits! It is amazing what can be done if you set aside a few minutes to innovate — and ASK!

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”


How Creativity Matters

March 2nd, 2016

supply chainThis weekend, I went to a “paint your pet” event at the Purple Easel. You’ll see my handiwork below of my cat, Smokey. Whether this looks like Smokey is debatable; however, it reminded me of the value of creativity. The teacher encouraged the class to use color and take a creative bent. In business, I find that my most successful clients encourage their employees to be creative, generate new ideas and innovate. These leaders have told me that some of their best ideas that benefited customer loyalty, growth and profits came direct from employees. Do you encourage creativity and innovation?


One tip to implement this week:

So, how can we encourage creativity? First, if you are an employee, take a few minutes every day to think about new ideas, new ways to perform your daily tasks, new ways to collaborate, etc. Just by thinking about it, you’re likely to come up with something you might never have thought of otherwise.

If you are a leader, encourage your employees to be creative and innovative. Provide them with guidelines and ‘safe’ work spaces for experimentation. Encourage trials and tests for new ideas. Celebrate failed ideas that they are willing to try. Do NOT give them a hard time for a failure that happens to negatively affect you. Eventually, they will not only come up with a good idea but, more importantly, they are likely to become more engaged and interested in their work!

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”


Lessons Learned from Failure

February 4th, 2012

Why do failures generate so much interest? Perhaps as students, we had it pounded into our heads that mistakes are bad – avoid failure at all costs. What can we learn from failure?

1. First, failure isn’t fatal – not only is failure not fatal but it also is critical to success. What?!? Yes, the only way to innovate is to try new things, which ensures failure somewhere down-the-line.

2. Leverage failure – If you’re going to fail, don’t hide under a bush! Instead, find out what happened so that you can leverage those lessons in your next attempt.

3. Ask questions – One of the best ways to discover the “small things” which are the difference between success and failure is to ask questions. Leverage the talent of your team, peers, and experts.

4. Leverage strengths – It might sound odd to look for strengths in failure but typically something went well, even if the task, project or experiment failed. See if there’s a way to better leverage your strengths.

5. Look for trends – As Edison failed countless times before his significant success, it is important to look for trends. Is there a trend of what’s working or what’s not working? Anything different or unique from one attempt to the next? Trends can be enlightening.